TEL AVIV (Feb. 7)
Springlike sunshine and American bulldozers today broke the “snow siege” of Jerusalem, clearing the main roads in and around the city. However, the lowest temperatures in the memory of the oldest inhabitants still hampered all work in Upper Galilee and the Haifa area where interurban traffic was virtually paralyzed.
The city of Safad remained completely isolated from the rest of the country and in Haifa all port operations were at a standstill, as were most services in the city. High seas prevented 25 vessels from entering the harbor. Telegraphic communications between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were partially restored this morning and one freight train–from Hartuv–plowed its way through two-foot drifts late yesterday.
In Jerusalem, the walls of a synagogue in the Old City collapsed under the weight of the snow, killing several Arab refugees housed there. Four Jews were killed and many injured last night when a wall of a mess hall at the Ein Shemer immigrant camp for Yemenites collapsed under the weight of snow. As below freezing temperatures continue in all parts of the country, immigration camps officials are working day and night to relieve the misery of immigrants living in tents. All through the night Jewish Agency officials evacuated to temporary quarters in public buildings immigrants whose tents were damaged.
Early estimates today placed the damage caused by the snow storm to the ripening citrus crop in the millions of dollars. However, the Ministry of Agriculture said that the citrus groves did not suffer considerably, but that vegetable and banana crops are “badly endangered,” with very gloomy prospects for improvement.
All food and other supplies were plentiful in Jerusalem, except that the nealy complete paralysis of traffic interfered with distribution. However, water supplies were extremely low because many pipes had frozen. Few accidents were reported in the city and the local police rescued a number of cars stalled in the suburbs, including one in which Levi Eshkol, Jewish Agency treasurer, was stranded at Castel Hill, about six miles west of the city.